Last weekend, W. D. Deli was given the distinct honor and special pleasure of hosting the Cornyation 2011 cast party. The occasion gave Mr. Bobo an opportunity to reflect on Cornyations past and present (and future, I guess).

Cornyation dates back to 1964, when it was staged at the Arneson River Theatre as part of A Night in Old San Antonio. Its irreverent pokes at politics and prominent and not-so-prominent world events led to its demise as part of NIOSA. In 1982 local artists and designers revived the celebration, and it has grown to be a major part of Fiesta. (

Over the years, Cornyation has become quite the hot ticket. People camp out for days before the tickets go on sale, hoping to get a few precious tickets for one of the six performances that take place on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of Fiesta week. When we first became involved in Cornyation, it was a little less complicated. In those days designers would create some sort of crazy, over-the-top dress/outfit/contraption. The designer would then find a dear sweet unsuspecting woman friend who might be willing to parade around a stage and runway in the astounding and often extremely cumbersome creation for a few shows. The show has evolved. These days the designers create not merely a costume, but a whole vignette, complete with choreography, voice overs, scenery, specific lighting, even special effects, usually building toward some sort of wonderful, climactic, scream-inducing reveal.

Something that hasn’t changed over the years is the generous spirit of all the people who are involved in the show. The entire group works tirelessly to produce six performances that result in a ridiculous amount of irreverent entertainment and lots of money being raised for local charities. The participants donate immeasurable time and energy and money to make Cornyation happen. These sweet insane folks give up many hours leading up to the event, and most of their Fiesta time and energy is focused on Cornyation. They may miss Oyster Bake or NIOSA, but those dance steps must be perfect, and those costumes must be bedazzled.

And the somewhat cocktailed audiences hoot and holler and applaud in appreciation. But once in a while, after the show, Mr. Bobo will encounter a Debbie Downer. Making polite conversation, Mr. Bobo will ask something innocuous like: "How’s your Fiesta going?" "Have you been to Cornyation yet?" "Did you enjoy the show?" The unhappy, jaded soul will respond with something like: "Ugh. It was okay." "I was expecting production values." Mr. Bobo is at first taken aback. Given a moment to compose myself enough to deliver an appropriate comment, I will almost invariably offer something to the effect of: "Really? I thought it was great. Maybe you should try to get involved and become a part of Cornyation and make it even better. You’d be great. They’re always looking for talented people." In other words: Don’t Hate. Participate.

Mr. Beers and Mr. Bobo are always excited to have visitors in town for Fiesta. Sometimes we get to meet new friends who have just moved to San Antonio and have not experienced Fiesta. We always scramble to find Cornyation tickets so that we may take these friends and visitors to the show for an evening of mayhem and madness.

Cornyation holds a special place in our hearts. For years, Mr. Bobo and Mr. Beers participated in the craziness known as Cornyation in the capacity of designers. We remember the days in the upstairs ballroom at The Bonham Exchange, as well as the times when the event was held at Beethoven Hall. Lately the fun happens at The Empire Theatre. We like to think that we’re still part of the Cornyation family (Corny-exes), albeit peripherally. We still attend one or two performances every year. We are usually approached by a group or two requesting sponsorship from W. D. Deli. We are proud to be a part of the festivities. Everyone who works (or has worked) on Cornyation deserves a big hug and an encouraging word. Great show! Thanks, y’all!


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